Tag Archives: Vanity

“What the world is” by Arthur Dent

“The world is a sea of glass: a pageant of fond delight, a theatre of vanity, a labyrinth of error, a gulf of grief, a sty of filthiness, a vale of misery, a spectacle of woe, a river of tears, a stage of deceit, a cage full of devils, a den of scorpions, a wilderness of wolves, a cabin of bears, a whirlwind of passions, a feigned comedy, a delectable frenzy, where there is false delight, assured grief, certain sorrow, uncertain pleasure, lasting woe, fickle wealth, long heaviness, and short joy.”

–Arthur Dent, “On Covetousness,” in The Plain Man’s Pathway to Heaven Wherein Every Man May Clearly See Whether He Shall Be Saved Or Damned, Set Forth Dialogue-Wise, For the Better Understanding of the Simple (Belfast: North of Ireland Book and Tract Depository, 1601/1859), 69-70.

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“A calm look into the eternal world” by Robert Murray M’Cheyne

“There is nothing like a calm look into the eternal world to teach us the emptiness of human praise, the sinfulness of self-seeking and vainglory, to teach us the preciousness of Christ.”

–Robert Murray M’Cheyne, Memoir and Remains of the Rev. Robert Murray M’Cheyne, Ed. Andrew A. Bonar (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1844/1966), 85.

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“Dwell upon the vanity of all things here below” by Thomas Brooks

“Oh let your souls dwell upon the vanity of all things here below, till your hearts be so thoroughly convinced and persuaded of the vanity of them, as to trample upon them, and make them a footstool for Christ to get up, and ride in a holy triumph in your hearts.

Tell me, you that say all things under the sun are vanity, if you do really believe what you say, why do you spend more thoughts and time on the world, than you do on Christ, heaven, and your immortal souls? Why do you then neglect your duty towards God, to get the world?

Why do you then so eagerly pursue after the world, and are so cold in your pursuing after God, Christ, and holiness? Why then are your hearts so exceedingly raised, when the world comes in, and smiles upon you?

Why are you so much dejected, and cast down, when the world frowns upon you, and with Jonah’s gourd withers before you?”

–Thomas Brooks, The Complete Works of Thomas Brooks, Volume 1, ed. Alexander Balloch Grosart (Edinburgh; London; Dublin: James Nichol; James Nisbet and Co.; G. Herbert, 1866), 64-65.

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“The money is the root of my misery” by John Grisham

“Down to the last day, even the last hour now. I’m an old man, lonely and unloved, sick and hurting and tired of living. I am ready for the hereafter; it has to be better than this.

I own the tall glass building in which I sit, and 97 percent of the company housed in it, below me, and the land around it half a mile in three directions, and the two thousand people who work here and the other twenty thousand who do not, and I own the pipeline under the land that brings gas to the building from my fields in Texas, and I own the utility lines that deliver electricity, and I lease the satellite unseen miles above by which I once barked commands to my empire flung far around the world.

My assets exceed eleven billion dollars. I own silver in Nevada and copper in Montana and coffee in Kenya and coal in Angola and rubber in Malaysia and natural gas in Texas and crude oil in Indonesia and steel in China. My company owns companies that produce electricity and make computers and build dams and print paperbacks and broadcast signals to my satellite. I have subsidiaries with divisions in more countries than anyone can find.

I once owned the appropriate toys– the yachts and jets and blondes, the homes in Europe, farms in Argentina, an island in the Pacific, thoroughbreds, even a hockey team. But I’ve grown too old for toys.

The money is the root of my misery.

I had three families–three ex-wives who bore seven children, six of whom are still alive and doing all they can to torment me. To the best of my knowledge, I fathered all seven, and buried one. I should say his mother buried him. I was out of the country.

I am estranged from all the wives and all the children. They’re gathering here today because I’m dying and it’s time to divide the money.”

–John Grisham, The Testament (New York: Dell Publishing, 1999), 1-2.

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